Hawkeyes in the NFL Week 4: George Kittle Kills It in Return

October 6, 2020

Written by Rob Howe

Hawkeye Nation

IOWA CITY, Iowa – George Kittle missed the previous two weeks with a knee injury. If they had somehow forgotten, the San Francisco 49ers quickly were reminded of the value their all-pro tight brings when he returned Sunday night.

The Iowa product caught 15 of 16 targets for 183 yards and a touchdown in a 25-20 loss against visiting Philadelphia. He also contributed an eight-yard rush.

According to NFL.com Research, George Kittle topped 100 receiving yards for the 9th time in his career. In only his 47th game, Kittle tied for the 3rd-most 100-yard games by a tight end in their first 50 career games since 1970. The only players with more were Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow (14) and Rob Gronkowski (12).

In the fourth quarter, Kittle was catching passes from former college teammate C.J. Beathard, who replaced ineffective starter Nick Mullens. Beathard completed 14 of 19 attempts for 138 yards. He led a touchdown drive on his first series that provided the 49ers a comeback opportunity.

Beathard saw his first action of the season.

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Elsewhere around the league for former Hawkeyes:

  • Linebacker Josey Jewell enjoyed a big night Thursday during Denver’s 37-28 victory against the Jets. The Decorah (IA) High product led the Broncos with 10 tackles (8 solo), 2 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss, while also being credited with a pass defended.

He became just the second Bronco since 1994 (Von Miller in ’16) to record at least 10 tackles and two sacks in a single game.

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Rookie defensive back Michael Ojemudia delivered two solo tackles and a pass defended for Denver. Second-year tight end Noah Fant caught five of six targets for 35 yards before leaving the game with an ankle injury. His status for Week 5 was listed as “iffy.”

  • Buffalo remained unbeaten with a 30-23 victory at Las Vegas. Safety Micah Hyde produced six tackles (five solo) and defended a pass. He’s logged 73 defensive snaps on Sunday bringing his season total 269 in four games.

Rookie defensive end A.J. Epenesa saw 15 snaps for Buffalo, down from 24 the previous week. He did not record any statistics. Offensive lineman Ike Boettger was inactive for the winners.

  • Defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City maintained its unblemished record with a 26-10 triumph against visiting New England Monday night. Linebackers Anthony Hitchens (six tackles, three solo) and Ben Niemann (two tackles, one solo) took part in a stingy effort from the Chiefs’ defense.

James Ferentz saw his first action of ’20 for the Patriots. The son of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz started at center and played 76 snaps, including all 74 on offense.

  • The Rams improved to 3-1 with a 17-9 home victory against the Giants. Center Austin Blythe played all 57 offensive snaps for the winners. Long-snapper Casey Kreiter logged eight snaps for New York.
  • The Lions fell to 1-3 with a 35-29 home setback against New Orleans. Second-year tight end T.J. Hockenson caught 2 of 4 targets for nine yards, including a one-yard touchdown. He took a page out of Kittle’s playbook by falling down before scoring, eliciting a smile of frustration from Saints all-pro safety Malcolm Jenkins.

Tackle Matt Nelson played three snaps on offense and three more on special teams for the Lions.

  • Chicago dropped its first game of the season, a 19-11 loss to visiting Indianapolis. Guard James Daniels played all 62 of the Bears’ offensive snaps, bringing his total to 273 in ’20. His 68.3 Pro Football Focus grade this season ranks him 22nd among guards.
  • Cincinnati won for the first time this season, a 33-25 victory against visiting Jacksonville. The Bengals placed veteran defensive tackle Mike Daniels on IR before the game, meaning he’ll be out for at least three weeks with an elbow injury. Defensive tackle Carl Davis was active but did not see any action for the Jaguars.
  • Minnesota got into the win column with a 31-23 triumph at Houston, who a day later fired head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien. Offensive tackle Riley Reiff played all 66 of the Vikings’ offense snaps. Nose tackle Jaleel Johnson saw 33 snaps (50.8 percent) with one tackle for the winners.
  • Tampa Bay improved to 3-1 in ’20 with a 38-31 win against the visiting Chargers. Rookie right tackle Tristan Wirfs continued establishing himself as a force in the league already. Sunday he matched up with dominant edge rusher Joey Bosa.

Wirfs’ 73.7 PFF grade through four weeks ranks 22nd among all NFL tackles this season. The Mount Vernon (IA) High graduate has taken all 275 of his team’s offensive snaps in ’20.┬áSecond-year linebacker Anthony Nelson played eight snaps for the winners, producing a tackle for loss.

Los Angeles Defensive back Desmond King racked up five tackles (four solo) in a season-high 50 snaps. His 78.2 PFF grade slots him at No. 3 among all NFL safeties this season. Chargers offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga missed the game with an injury.

  • Green Bay improved to 4-0 Monday night with a 30-16 win against visiting Atlanta. Packers starting linebacker Christian Kirksey was placed on the IR earlier this week with a shoulder injury. Defensive back Josh Jackson saw a season-high 28 snaps (40 percent) for Green Bay.
  • Veteran defensive end Adrian Clayborn was inactive for Cleveland’s 49-38 win at Dallas due to a hip injury.
  • Baltimore rookie safety Geno Stone still is waiting to make his NFL debut after being inactive again for Week 4.
  • Second-year safety Amani Hooker and his Tennessee teammates saw their game postponed after a COVID-19 outbreak in the franchise.

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